What started out as a plant-based pollution clean-up project quickly turned into a nanotechnology research project, he adds.
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The two scientists and their colleagues also knew that plants had been used to prospect for gold. In the tropics, for example, researchers from Australia, Canada, and Papua New Guinea found that gold concentrations in plants could serve as effective stand-ins for direct soil samples in efforts to find new gold deposits.
Straw into Gold: Fairy Tales Re-Spun
Plants were particularly effective where soils had been covered by dust and ash from volcanic eruptions and so couldn't be tested directly. The question was whether easily grown crop plants could also sequester gold, and in nanoparticle form. The team started with alfalfa, germinating seeds in an artificial, gold-rich medium.
Using powerful x-ray and electron microscopes, they not only struck gold in the alfalfa shoots, but found that they formed the nanoparticles they were looking for. Extracting the metals presents no problem, Yacaman says. In essence, "you can easily dissolve the organic material," leaving the gold intact. Although initial experiments showed that the gold particles formed in random shapes, Yacaman says it appears that by changing the acidity of the growing medium, the shapes become more uniform.
Since it first reported its work in the American Chemical Society's Nano Letters in January, the team has worked with other metals, using plants to manufacture nanoparticles of silver, Europium, palladium, and iron. For industrial-scale production, the team holds that the plants can be grown indoors in gold-enriched soils, or they can be "farmed" at abandoned gold mines. In addition, they've tested the approach on wheat and oats, finding that oats are much more efficient at taking up gold than alfalfa.
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The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books What would have happened if the queen failed to guess Rumpelstiltskin's name and the odd little man had taken her child? School Library Journal In this touching, dark story Schmidt extends the tale of Rumpelstiltskin to explore what might have happened if the queen had not guessed Rumpelstiltskin's name correctly.
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So there sat the poor miller's daughter, and for the life of her could not tell what to do, she had no idea how straw could be spun into gold, and she grew more and more frightened, until at last she began to weep. But all at once the door opened, and in came a little man, and said, "Good evening, mistress miller, why are you crying so?
The little man took the necklace, seated himself in front of the wheel, and whirr, whirr, whirr, three turns, and the reel was full, then he put another on, and whirr, whirr, whirr, three times round, and the second was full too. And so it went on until the morning, when all the straw was spun, and all the reels were full of gold.
No fairy tale: Researchers spin straw into gold
By daybreak the king was already there, and when he saw the gold he was astonished and delighted, but his heart became only more greedy. He had the miller's daughter taken into another room full of straw, which was much larger, and commanded her to spin that also in one night if she valued her life. The girl knew not how to help herself, and was crying, when the door opened again, and the little man appeared, and said, "What will you give me if I spin that straw into gold for you? The little man took the ring, again began to turn the wheel, and by morning had spun all the straw into glittering gold.
Short Stories: Rumpelstiltskin by Brothers Grimm
The king rejoiced beyond measure at the sight, but still he had not gold enough, and he had the miller's daughter taken into a still larger room full of straw, and said, "You must spin this, too, in the course of this night, but if you succeed, you shall be my wife. Even if she be a miller's daughter, thought he, I could not find a richer wife in the whole world. When the girl was alone the manikin came again for the third time, and said, "What will you give me if I spin the straw for you this time also?
Who knows whether that will ever happen, thought the miller's daughter, and, not knowing how else to help herself in this strait, she promised the manikin what he wanted, and for that he once more spun the straw into gold.
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